If you know me personally, this title may have surprised you. I admit at first I created the title for shock value and blog traffic. I almost changed it. But I kept it because I know I’m not the only special needs parent who has felt this way.
All parents run into times when they feel like yelling or having a temper tantrum of their own. Unfortunately, special needs parents can run into that situation more often because of the extra stressors in dealing with their child. Sensory issues, apparently illogical fears, stimming behaviors, the inability to act appropriately, meltdowns, and more…these all test a parent’s patience and self-control.
As my son grows, he makes progress and I celebrate. However, new challenges arise as well. There have been times when I’ve been so frustrated I just wanted to let loose and yell and swear.
Is that responsible parenting? No, of course not.
So what can a special needs parent do instead?
- Purposefully calm your voice and lower it.
- Get silly. Warning: this CAN backfire, especially with a serious child.
- Have your special needs child blow out an imaginary candle or blow bubbles. This is a way to get him to do some deep breathing without realizing it.
- Take a short jumping-jack break together.
- Have your child go to his bed or other safe place while you both cool down. If other children are involved, separate your special needs child from the other child(ren). You need to stop the problem before it escalates into injury.
- Pray. This could be alone or with your child. More than likely your special needs child will be too upset to do his own praying. Just let your child hear you praying for him.
- Cry in the bathroom. This can be a release for you.
- Talk to yourself, literally. Remind yourself your child is a child. Tell yourself to persevere.
- Do some deep breathing alone. Focus on your breathing to calm yourself.
- Remind yourself not to take things personally.
- Help your child calm down. Sometimes that’s all you can do. After you’ve calmed down, find a way to help your child calm.
- Be sure your child heard and/or understood you if it’s a situation where he seems to be ignoring you or defying you.
- Find a way to show your child you love her.
- If this happens often, try to find a way to get yourself a break. In my Kindle book The Power of One, I discuss the benefits of taking breaks of various sizes. Take an afternoon off of and do some fun things in the home. Arrange to run errands alone. Meet a friend for coffee.
- Evaluate the situation for triggers. It took me a few weeks of math meltdowns to realize I couldn’t have the dishwasher on during school work time anymore.
- Walk through the situation with your child. See if you can glean any helpful information to avoid the scenario next time. Coach them in what they should do differently when they encounter the circumstances again.
- Empower your child with coping strategies. I wrote an entire post about empowering our kids.
Now it’s your turn. How do you keep yourself from yelling and swearing at your child? Let me know in the comments!
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